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The Moment You Decide to Show Up for Work

Your alarm goes off, rousing you from a deep sleep. Your finger hovers over the snooze button. Maybe for the second or third time. This could be the most crucial moment of your day.

You’re probably familiar with the internal debate that takes place in this moment. The bargaining. “It really doesn’t take all that long to get to work if the highway’s clear enough and I get enough green lights.”

Of course, your moment may not involve the snooze button. It could have happened the night before when you decided that a tire with a slow leak will “probably be fine.” Or when you decided before going to bed that your work shirt is “probably clean enough.” Your moment could happen anytime, really.

The key component of these moments: You’re making an important choice.

Before the moment, the situation was under your control. After the moment, it’s up to fate. You don’t always have a choice. Life can be messy. Even when you plan ahead, things happen, and showing up on time can be hard. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead, and to make the right choice whenever you have a choice to make.

Here are some things to consider the next time you have one of these “moments” of decision:

There’s a cost

Estimates of the total monetary cost of absenteeism and tardiness in the workplace vary widely. One thing they have in common: They’re all measured in billions of dollars.

That’s a big number. Think of what it represents. A loss of productivity on a massive scale. An issue so big and so prevalent that it can cause huge problems like lost jobs — and not just your own.

It’s a problem that, more often than not, you can make better.

Other people are depending on you

If you’re five minutes late, it might not make that much difference — to you. But it can make a big difference to other people.

In a work environment, your absence or tardiness has a much bigger impact than just your own lost productivity. Every minute others spend waiting or checking on you is time they are pulled away from their own work.

When you find yourself in a moment of decision, keep in mind that you’re not just making a choice for you. Hitting that snooze button means deciding what other people are going to be doing with their time as well.

You are valuable

When you decide that it’s okay to give up responsibility for showing up, what does that say about how you value yourself?

Set aside the lost productivity of the work you’d be doing. Forget how you’ll forfeit any reputation for dependability. Ask yourself this: “Why do I think it won’t matter?”

The thing is it does matter. To others. To the bottom line. And most importantly, to you. Deciding to take control of your time is a simple act of self-respect, and it can help set the tone for how you treat yourself.

When you don’t have a choice

Making a routine of punctuality does more than just save money and aggravation. It does more than help you feel good about yourself. Punctuality earns you credibility — make being on time a good habit. By proving yourself as somebody who plans ahead, makes responsible choices and shows up when needed over and over again, you’ll buy yourself second chances instead of third strikes.

While no one is perfect and you can’t control everything. Think hard about what you can control, and make the best of it. Nobody has a choice all the time. But when you do, make the right one.

Learn more

Want more reasons to make the right decisions? Check out a past article on the subject: “4 Work Habits to Start on Day One.”

Turn the page

Are you ready to turn the page, make the right decisions and move forward? Need help or coaching on how to do it? Talk with an Aerotek recruiter for expert advice that pertains to your particular situation.

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